Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 15 - American Soldier

This weekend the Governor (AKA Mrs. Tailgate) and I met in Baltimore for the 117th rendition of the Army Navy game and the accompanying festivities. I have written about this game every year now for nine seasons so I will keep it short and sweet this time with a slideshow for your enjoyment. The game would be played at M&T stadium, the home of the NFL Baltimore Ravens. The tailgate was once again hosted by the Cliffside Park, NJ Crime Family (lots of guys whose last name end in I or O and have nicknames like Jimmy the eyebrow, Johnny gotta large trunk and Joey double tap) and attended by many of our friends from Frostburg, the Army and other places of notable ill repute. All told, our tailgate hosted over 120 people in the brisk but sunny Baltimore afternoon.  A great assortment of chow and refreshments were provided by many: Terry Kernan’s grilled oysters with bacon, cheese and peppers, Hoss Van Orden’s cheese steak sandwiches, Ray Carlucci’s homemade chicken noodle soup, Slicky the gimp’s sausage and peppers, Brian Donnelly’s old bay chicken wings, multiple breakfast egg and meat sandwiches, Dino Manzoni’s deer meat chili, Long Island Vinny Ammirato’s 30 lbs. of kielbasa, slow cooked spare ribs, cannoli’s, Rat’s bloody Mary bar, Jameson, fireball and other lesser sprits and libations. If you are going to attend only one college football game in your life, this is the one. Although neither team will win a National Championship this year or perhaps any year going forward, I dare you to find two teams that will play any harder against one another. The history, the pageantry, the patriotism, and the sacrifice these young men will endure in the future make this the most meaningful game each year.  In addition to the traditional pre game pageantry, President Elect Trump attended the spectacle. It was also the venerable Verne Lundquist’s last broadcast ever.  Last and most importantly, Army finally beat Navy after a 14 year drought! After falling behind in the 4th quarter, Army put together a game winning drive spearheaded by QB Ahmad Bradshaw to pull out the win 21-17. Enjoy the brief slide show:

Around the Nation- Congratulations are in order to Lamar Jackson for winning this year’s Heisman Trophy but losing the runway fashion show all at the same time. Five time defending champion North Dakota State will face James Madison and Eastern Washington will host Youngstown State in the FCS semifinals next week. In the first time forever, neither Mount Union nor Wisconsin Whitewater will be in the Division III championship game as both have been eliminated from the playoffs. Mary Hardin Baylor will be facing Wisconsin Osh Kosh by gosh in the Championship. In the DII Championship next weekend, North Alabama will face Northwest Missouri State. In the NAIA St. Francis IN will face off against Baker, KS in the finale next weekend.

Bieber – The Playoff committee. I need your help in generating a groundswell to expand to 8 teams. Mainly so I don’t have to listen the wrong sided ESPN blow hards pontificate all year about who will be in the final four. My plan as laid out last week is simple, logical, fair and oh yeah, it will generate a whole lot more money than a bunch of meaningless Bowls (however, please continue with those):

  •  Automatic bids for the 5 power five champions (must have conference championship games)
  • ·Top rated non-power 5 school (Group of 5) that wins their conference
  •  The two highest rated wild cards.

I know the 4 team playoff is a step in the right direction, but it is like performing heart surgery and leaving two vessels blocked while opening up only two. We need to take this all the way, so please help me spread the gospel. Until then, the Playoff committee gets to share some righteous Bieber hardware.

Next UP – We will be attending the Foster Farm Bowl in Santa Clara, CA on 12/28 between Indiana and Utah. This will afford me the opportunity to wear my bodacious Wisconsin red and white striped coveralls again. We will follow that up with the Granddaddy of them all on 1/2/17 to witness Penn State take on USC. Please send me your Bowl pictures and I will try to post them. There will be no write up until after the Foster Farm Bowl for a mid- Bowl season update.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 14 - Where Champions Are Crowned

With hall pass in hand Friday night for the PAC 12 Championship game at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, the Big Cat and I rolled down I 680 and checked into the Five Star Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. The digs were part of the package deal I had won. This was a slight upgrade from our Super 8 in College Station, TX on Labor Day weekend. We were then taken by shuttle to the PAC 12 VIP Tailgate at Great America Theme Park across the parking lot from the stadium. If you chose, you could partake in unlimited roller coaster rides. We opted to avoid vertigo and nausea and hit the open bar and sampled some of the morsels that were offered. We gathered with the other package winners and were escorted onto the field to watch pre-game warmups and take in the sights. The Mighty Huskies of Washington looked focused and intense and Colorado appeared timid. Our seats were in the club level so we had access to food, drink and warmth throughout the night.

Meeting with old friend PAC 12 Commissioner Larry Scott

Taking a knee in Levi with the Big Cat, but not like Kaepernick
The stadium was 2/3rds full with more UW fans and much electricity in the air. If UW won, they would have a legitimate shot at the college football playoff (a flawed system until they go 8 teams). From the onset UW dominated all facets of the game. On Colorado’s first series, star QB Sefo Liufau suffered a leg injury and would not return until the second half. The Buffs never seemed to recover mentally from his injury and temporary absence. The teams traded scores in the first quarter and then it was all Huskies thereafter. Washington running backs Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman each ran for over 100 yards. The Husky Defense was stout and created several key turnovers stifling the Buffs Offense. The UW fans stayed until the end as the Colorado fans started their departure in the third quarter. Final score UW 41, Colorado 10. We fled back to the hotel night club to celebrate with the victors and help the losers drown their sorrows.

Great seats!

The two cheer squads

Around the country – As expected, Alabama utterly destroyed a mediocre Florida team 54-16 for the SEC crown. More importantly, the Tide D held the Gators to zero rushing yards! Congrats to Western Michigan and the soon to be gone coach PJ Fleck as the Broncos go undefeated knocking off Ohio in the MAC championship. The Broncos will be rowing their boat to the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma dominated in state rival Oklahoma State in the Bedlam/defacto Big 12 Championship game in Norman, OK.  The dynamic backfield of Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon were too much for the Pokes to handle. Clemson held on for a narrow win over Virginia Tech in the ACC championship after amassing a big lead and almost squandering it. San Diego State lassoed the Wyoming Cowboys in the Mountain West title game in the high altitude and cold weather in Laramie, WY. The Temple Owls defeated Navy in the battle for the AAC championship in Annapolis, MD.  In the game of the weekend, the Penn State Nittany Lions came back from a 28-7 deficit to best the Wisconsin Badgers 38-31 in the BIG Ten finale.
This sign at College Gameday says it all

DFT being represented at the AAC title match

Luke and Andrea Munding rooting on the Sooners in the rain

So here are the group of six Bowls:

Playoff Game 1 – Alabama v Washington (Peach Bowl)
Playoff Game 2- Clemson v Ohio State (Fiesta Bowl)
Cotton Bowl – Western Michigan v Wisconsin
Rose Bowl – USC v Penn State
Sugar Bowl – Oklahoma v Auburn
Orange Bowl – Michigan v Florida State

Bieber – Two members of the Colorado Buffaloes, Abdul Jaleel Awini (heehehe, I said weenie) and Chris Hill did not make the trip to Santa Clara for the big PAC 12 match Friday night. You see, they decided to go out on the town last weekend after the big win over Utah and tie one on and on and on. Eventually they were politely escorted out of a night club and began arguing. Awini (hehehehe) accused Hill of getting him kicked out and verbally threatened him. Hill responded by knocking the weenie the hell out. Hill took off after his Rhonda Rousey performance and Weenie laid motionless.  The Weener’s night only got worse from there. As police and fire showed up to the scene, his wallet was removed to check his identity. Along with proper identification, the 5150 found several baggies of cocaine in his wallet. Upon notifying Coach Mac, the Weenster was suspended indefinitely, but that will be the least of his worries as he is facing much “Stiffer” punishment.  Talk about a really crappy night son. Apparently this was not his first rodeo as he had troubles at Air Force Academy forcing him to transfer, and also had an alcohol related incident at Colorado. Well the Weener did get something his teammates didn’t this weekend, he got some new Bieberesque hardware to put in his prison cell as an ice breaker.

Next Week – The first couple of Tailgate will travel back to Charm City for the Army Navy game. We will be amongst many old friends and family in my birth state, and will continue the celebrations of Mrs. T’s belated birthday and our 28th wedding anniversary. Nothing says I love you like dragging your spouse to a tailgate in the sub-freezing temperatures of the mid-Atlantic region. Congratulations to Brad Korinke for winning this year’s Tailgaters Yahoo Pickem pool. 2nd Place goes to Andrew Scott and 3rd to Charlie Bolt.

Happy Tailgating!